On April 9, 2014 Northwestern College took part in International Justice Missions "Stand for Freedom." Along with college students across the globe, students stood collectively for twenty-four hours to raise awareness of human-trafficking. NWC brought me so much joy on this day. Throughout the day over 100 people stood and over 300 people signed the petition. People bared the cold and slept outside, students woke up and stood from 4-6am, companies donated, and many people were involved for over 6 hours! For a school of 1,200 students, our passion for justice was definitely evident through the day.
- There are currently 29.8 million people in modern day slavery.
- Human trafficking profits $32 billion annually
- 70% of victims are enslaved in sex-trafficking
- 50% of victims are children
- 98% are never rescued
These are just a few of the reasons we stood. But for me, the day was so much more than that. I stood for the 28 strong survivors I grew to know and love this summer. I stood for the young girls living in the slum who came to the stitching center and are at such a high risk for being trafficked. I stood for the girls behind the glass doors in the red light district in Amsterdam. I stood for the women who I saw being treated more like objects than beloved daughters of the King. I stood for the 29.8 million names and faces I do not know. That's a big number, but too often we read that only as a statistic. 29.8 million is not only a big number, but that is a lot of lives. It is 29.8 million lives that are trapped in daily violence, manipulation, fear, and abuse. These people have names and faces and heart wrenching stories. And yes, only 1-2% may ever be rescued, but that's 596,000 people and 596,000 stories of hope and restoration! The numbers can be overwhelming and I'm often asked how we can make a difference, but I believe the answer is simple: we can pray. If nothing else, we cover these people in prayer. Yes, we can raise awareness and donate and advocate and we should! But at the very least we can pray. Trafficking is not everyone's passion and that is okay, but these people do need prayer. The victims, the survivors, the exploiters, the advocates, and the organizations working to fight this all need prayer. In the red light district, I couldn't do anything but pray and yet I prayed for each and every girl I passed. I pray for my beloved sisters in India. I pray for the girls I know working in the field to stop it. And most of all, I pray that these victims will know Christ's victory. Even though up to 596,000 may be rescued, not all know the love of Jesus Christ and that is the only thing that will truly set them free.
This is why I stand for freedom, not only on April 9, but 365 days a year.
Galatians 5:1 (The Message) "Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you."